The Slice: Studies have shown that journaling can increase your IQ, among other benefits. But who has the time to sit down for an hour every night before bed to recount the day?
The Challenge: Journal every day for a week.
Frenemies or Friends with Benefits?
Let me just start by saying that I’ve always been a fan of journaling. As a wannabe writer, jotting down my thoughts everyday was not only a great stress reliever, it was also an outlet for creativity. In many cases (especially so in high school), my diary was often a BFF. It was a safe place to go to express my thoughts and feelings without any judgment (until someone found said diary…). As I have gotten older and had to take on more adulty stuff, I’ve neglected this BFF. From time to time, I would try to get into the habit of journaling again, but found that I would rather be watching The Daily Show or finishing up my turns in Words With Friends as a wind-down for bed.
After coming across an article on HuffPo on the benefits of journaling, I’ve become more motivated. I knew there were benefits to journaling, but apparently, the top reason to journal is that you may be able to stretch your IQ.
Um, yes please!
Finding that Time
Let’s face it. I still don’t have the time to sit down for an hour every night and write out all of my thoughts. What was more realistic for me was finding 10-15 minutes instead.
I found two reasonable ways for me to journal without actually having to spend so much time doing so and decided to try both out for a week to see which I preferred.
First option was by hand. We are all used to staring at a screen these days, so when there is an opportunity to write something by hand, I tend to favor it. When I was browsing online for a cute journal book I wouldn’t mind writing in, I came across this book. “Rate Your Day” is a three year journal that lets you to do as the book says by filling in the amount of stars you think your day was. 1 star, not a good day and 5 stars, a perfect day. That was how I rated my days anyway.
The journal then also lets you write a headline to sum up your day along with a few lines for you to jot down some words. This was the perfect solution and I managed to keep up with it for the entire challenge.
Second option was through a device. If I was going to be cuddled up in bed, playing Words With Friends on my phone before bed, surely I could also take a few minutes to enter some thoughts on this app. Grid Diary allows you to customize your own grid of questions you want to answer about your day.
Some of these questions include “What did I get done today?” and “How can I make tomorrow better?” If you splurge for the “Pro” version, you can even attach photos and export your diary from your device into various formats. I managed to keep up with this for a week too.
While both options were viable, I preferred the option of jotting down some keywords and rating my day. It was a bit more simple, a bit more creative, and a bit more tactile. But then again, like I said before, I tend to favor writing things by hand when there is an opportunity to.
Do I feel smarter? Not yet, but I hope to keep this up. Maybe I should take an IQ test now and then take another one in a year to compare the results!
Angela Teng is YDA’s mind contributor. She sometimes believes exercising the mind is more important than exercising the body. Only sometimes though. Please don’t tell Julia.